Tuesday, August 01, 2006

10 Online Safety Rules for Kids

With Internet becoming more and more a ubiquitous commodity in Indian households, more and more children are adopting to them and the amazing world that it opens all in just a few mouse clicks. 3-4 of my nephews and nieces insist that they have there own e-mail id and be allowed to surf the net and none of them is a older than 6 years. Internet can be a great tool for gathering information and learning though at times children need to be guided by adults on what safety rules they need to follow while online.

SafeKids has come out with a 10 point Internet safety guideline devised for kids worldwide to incorporate into their internet surfing habits. Here below is a gist of the suggested 10 online safety rules.
  1. I will not give out personal information
  2. I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
  3. I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without my parents permission.
  4. I will never send a person my picture online.
  5. I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable.
  6. I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online.
  7. I will not give out my Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.
  8. I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software.
  9. I will be a good online citizen
  10. I will help my parents understand how to have fun and learn things online and teach them things about the Internet, computers and other technology.
BBC too has come out with an article titled "The rise of the cyber-children". The article goes to lengths while discussing what age would be right for a child to go online. Startling revelations like
  • By the age of four, 45% of children have used a mouse to point and click, 27% have used a computer on their own at home
  • Children as young as 18 months are on the courses of computer classes
  • A four year old child being taught basics of Excel spreadsheet.
are sure to make your mind go numb.

While parental and peer pressure, sure are drivers and any amount of hoarse crying by educationists making minimalist difference, the best option would be to educate children about the need to stick to certain ground rules to ensure they have a safe and sound Internet and computer experience.

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